Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tiki Time: Bahooka

Summertime is prime season for tropical excursions and it just wouldn't feel like we had participated fully in the summer season unless we made our way back to that mecca of tropical splendor, Bahooka in Rosemead, CA.



Bahooka (est. 1967) is the world-famous tiki restaurant that has been celebrated in many books, on many websites and "best of" lists, and in the hearts of tiki-philes everywhere.  It truly is a mecca for enthusiasts of Polynesian pop and although it may seem so well-known that it wouldn't need to be featured here, we just couldn't live with ourselves if we didn't shine one more light on this wicky-wacky tacky landmark.


On our most recent visit, we were joined by our newlywed pals, Jesse and Emily (be sure to visit her film blog, thesilverscreenaffair.blogspot.com).

Mary, Mr. Tiny, Emily & Jesse
Bahooka is a tiki restaurant, so it straddles the line for us between a Tiki Time and Chow Time post.
  
Decisions, decisions....

It wasn't difficult to choose the heading under which Bahooka would fall; let's just say that they are not as well known for their food (not the best we've ever tasted) as they are for their huge assortment of (very strong, so we're told) tropical, tiki cocktails.

I've mentioned it before, but we are confirmed teetotalers so we left the rum
to the rummies in our group.  The newlyweds sharing a flaming "Scarlet Sails"
which according to the menu is actually a gin-based drink.  Do you call
someone drinking gin a ginny?  Or maybe a gin rummy?

Scarlet Sails in the sunset.
We definitely brought down the cool factor at our table
by several points by just drinking water.  At least it came
 in bamboo-shaped glasses!

Our real motivation in visiting Bahooka is the atmosphere - a combination south seas shipwreck, tiki bar, and marine aquarium.  I love that there isn't a blank space in Bahooka; everywhere one looks, there is an overabundance of visual stimulation.

Our dining table, a true feat of nautical craftsmanship -
anchored to the wall and suspended from the
ceiling by marine-grade chains.


As ever, my love for amazing light fixtures never wanes.
My favorite was this meteor lamp in a fish net.

The Big Kahuna



The best!
A tiki head illuminated inside a vintage,
 flower-bedecked gas pump

The most amazing thing about Bahooka is the amount of upkeep required to maintain the hundreds of fish tanks that fill the restaurant and surround each table.  The most famous fish in the aquarium that is Bahooka, is Ruffus.


Emily thought it was going to be like those old-timey lobster tanks
where you could choose your dinner.  She was inconsolable when
she realized she couldn't have Ruffus as her main course.

My favorite fish was this guys - dig those crazy fish lips!

To some it might seem ridiculous for the last remaining member of the Temperance Movement (not really) to drive forty minutes for a mediocre meal at a place famous for alcoholic drinks, but it is always a huge treat to visit Bahooka.  Such is the life of wacky tacky, searching out the delightful places that aren't so much frozen in time as they are a sweet respite from the worries and hurries of time.  


Bahooka
4501 N Rosemead Blvd
Rosemead, CA
(626)285-1241

www.bahooka.com


Cheers & Aloha!

Mr. Tiny

20 comments:

  1. Good lord how I love tiki drinks. Now, the food at tiki joints is usually something I can pass on.

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    1. I've always said there is no excuse for bad food, but sometimes the overall experience seriously outweighs the gastronomic limitations of a place like Bahooka. I know that if I did drink, I would be all over the tiki drinks!!!

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  2. Ah, now you're talking my style. Love Bahooka. And about time you wrote a post on it!

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    1. I know! What took me so long?!?!?! It is such a great place to go but I let too much time pass between visits.

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  3. That place looks great! And wow, Ruffus is one old guy!

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    1. So much fun. Is it the Omni Hut that you guys have out your way? I really want to check that place out! If I could somehow manage to turn this blogging thing into my full-time job, I could broaden my horizons beyond California and come see the wacky tacky wonders all over the country...and then, THE WORLD!!!

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  4. That place looks like so much fun. P.S. the fish does look like he could lose a few.

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    Replies
    1. Who you callin' a fish?!?!?!?! Hahahahaha.

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  5. I grew up in Pasadena, so we ate there a lot as a kid. I love their fish tank bar!

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    1. LUCKY!!! I didn't get there until I was in my twenties! I told myself that I would get a bunch more pictures (including the bar), but we shut the place down so many of the lights were off.

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  6. Oooh, that place looks like fun! I love the combo of the big plastic chunk sphere lamps made into fishing float lights - it's mid-mod-tiki-tastic!

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    1. Isn't it awesome?!?! My brother has a couple of those lamps hanging in his shop; I may have to go wrap them in fish net!

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  7. I love Rufus (and his body dysmorphia due to rude-i-tudes commenting on his tank!), I love the drinks-in-a-bowl, I love the decor. WHATTAPLACE! You guys looked too cute in that group shot, too.

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  8. What a beautiful lounge! I can't believe the size of that fish or Scarlet Sails.

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    Replies
    1. I don't think anything at Bahooka comes in a small size!!! The portions of food were huge too!

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  9. i love it! we are going to do some kind of california trip...maybe next summer/fall and i want to take two weeks and drive up and down the coast. i've only ever been to LA for a wedding! I'll have to get lots of tips from you! Bahooka will be a MUST!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, yes, yes! I'll be creating an itinerary for you guys!

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  10. Have you checked out the new tiki bar/ restaurant by the Disneyland hotel? It's super cool. You'd love it I think. Good food too. It's called
    Trader Sams. Jenny ward.

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    1. We have, thanks! It is awesome! We met some friends there and loved watching everyone get "Shipwrecked!"

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